Students with an impairment who don’t have a job on top of their study programme all received the same allowance of up to 340 per month up to and including 2014. But since 2015, that study allowance has been included under the Participation Act and municipalities were allowed to set the level of the allowance themselves. That has led to huge differences, with one municipality paying out much more per month than another.
Ieder(in), a network for people with an impairment or chronic illness, has calculated that the municipalities paid out 141 million euro less to students from 2015 until last year. According to the network, this is partly because municipalities were not yet obliged by law to spend that funding on students with an impairment. Another reason was that students often didn’t even know that they were entitled to the allowance.
The House of Representatives recently approved a legislative proposal that means that from April 2022, municipalities will not have any choice. Wherever they live, students over 21 will then receive a monthly allowance of 300 euro and those aged 20 and below will receive a monthly allowance of 150 euro.
Ieder(in) considers this to be a good first step, but thinks the level of the allowance for younger students is too low, as an average 18-year-old student earns 300 euro per month, according to the CBS. The network also wants the study allowance level to be linked to statutory minimum wage indexation.
The network also thinks it would be more logical to have the allowance paid out by DUO. That would be much clearer for students who currently often don’t know that they can obtain funding from their municipality. That would also mean that local conditions would no longer exist.
‘We’re not doing this to blame municipalities, but more to show that this regulation doesn’t belong with them’, stated Ieder(in) in Binnenlands Bestuur. ‘They use the money for other things, such as within the Participation Act where there have been considerable cutbacks. But it is of course rather odd that 141 million euro has not found its way to students with an impairment.’